Register of ancient monuments

Reference number 1015096

Churn Milk Joan On Crow Hill Midgley Moor
Height Road
Hebden Bridge


The monument includes a carved gritstone boundary stone, measuring 0.34m by 0.32m and standing 2.1m high. It is post-medieval in date but reuses a stone bearing prehistoric cup and ring markings. It is situated on Midgley Moor, on the crest of a ridge north of moorland enclosures, west of the summit of Crow Hill, and is known as Churn Milk Joan. An accurate National Grid Reference is SE 01978 27685.

The carving consists of four cups on the east face and one cup on the south face.


Prehistoric rock art is found on natural rock outcrops in many areas of upland Britain. It is especially common in the north of England in Northumberland, Durham and North and West Yorkshire. The most common form of decoration is the 'cup and ring' marking where expanses of small cup-like hollows are pecked into the surface of the rock. These cups may be surrounded by one or more 'rings'. Single pecked lines extending from the cup through the 'rings' may also exist, providing the design with a 'tail'. Other shapes and patterns also occur, but are less frequent. Carvings may occur singly, in small groups, or may cover extensive areas of rock surface. They date to the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age periods (2800-c500 BC) and provide one of our most important insights into prehistoric 'art'. The exact meaning of the designs remains unknown, but they may be interpreted as sacred or religious symbols.

Frequently they are found close to contemporary burial monuments and the symbols are also found on portable stones placed directly next to burials or incorporated in burial mounds. Around 800 examples of prehistoric rock-art have been recorded in England. This is unlikely to be a realistic reflection of the number carved in prehistory. Many will have been overgrown or destroyed in activities such as quarrying. All positively identified prehistoric rock art sites exhibiting a significant group of designs will normally be identified as nationally important.

Although not in its original setting, the carving on this rock survives well and forms an important part of the prehistoric landscape of the Midgley Moor area, where carved rocks appear to be extremely uncommon. This example is well away from the known concentrations between the Rivers Aire, Wharfe and Nidd and for that reason may be considered to be a particularly interesting example.

Last Updated: 07/10/2004